Empathy Games - Scouting 2019-12-20¢  compassion. But the difficult part of empathy is taking action

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  • Empathy Games

    A collection of games to help understand the life and situations that people experience within your community.

  • Empathy Empathy is a deep appreciation for another's situation and point of view.

    Empathy is Action Empathy begins with awareness, understanding, feeling, caring, perceiving a similarity of experience, and compassion. But the difficult part of empathy is taking action that truly helps another.

    Increasing Empathy Empathy is present in most people, and certain activities can increase empathy, or at least cooperation, between people. One key to empathy is understanding first in yourself, then in others.

    Feeling Empathy for people we might dislike We all know people who are generally difficult to like. How can you have empathy for such people? The answer is that you don't have to like someone to want the best for them. You may feel sad they are like this and you can want them to: become more aware of how they annoy others, take steps to improve themselves, become more responsible, care more for others, and take other steps to become more satisfied and peaceful.

    Acting with empathy can be very difficult. Here is an example of a situation where it may be difficult to know what is the right thing to do:

    Patrick receives a pay check each Friday. He quickly spends it on tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. By Monday he is getting hungry and asks you to lend him $50 for food. What is the empathic response?

    Follow these general steps for acting with empathy:

    • Preserve dignity and avoid humiliation. • Engage in a dialogue to understand his point of

    view and to determine his specific needs.

    Throughout the dialogue keep in mind:

    • What he asks for may not be what he needs. Continue the dialogue until you both understand his needs.

    • Every person always has needs for autonomy, competency, and relatedness but is unlikely to express these. This may lead to mixed feelings about change.

    • Help him to meet his needs to the extent you are willing and able to.

    Keep in mind:

    • You are responsible for your choices and actions. • He is responsible for his choices and actions. • You can change some things but not others.

    This game resource will help your Scouts to understand the issues that might present themselves within a community.

    You can choose the games that best suit the situation you want to explore.

    These games are fun to play but also have a serious message. When the game is played it is important that some form of group discussion takes place. This discussion will help to identify what has been learned by playing the game and the issues that needs to be considered.

    The content of all the games can be or may need to be adapted to suit your own situation or need.

    The collection of games has been compiled from many different countries so adaptation of game content and situations will be required to suit your culture or perspective.

  • The Exclusion Game Aim To enable participants to experience exclusion and domination in a safe environment encouraging empathy and solidarity with others

    Time- 30 minutes

    Materials Sheets of sticky dots in three different colours

    What to do Divide participants into three groups. Place a dot on the forehead of each participant: Red for one group, Green for another and Blue for the third.

    Tell participants that Greens are all in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and that they have all the power. Give them chairs to sit on and sweets. Tell the Reds that they are all over 65 years old and to stand together with their noses touching one wall and not to look around or talk.

    Tell Blues that they are all under 18 years of age and that they must do exactly what the Greens say. You can give Greens some suggestions for instruction such as hop on one leg, do press ups, make animal noises, pretend to be elephants.

    Repeat with Blues being in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and having all the power, Reds being under 18 years old and following Blues instructions and Greens being over 65 years old with the noses against a wall.

    Repeat with Reds being in their 30’s and 40’s years of age and having all the power, Greens being under 18 years old, following their instructions and Blues being over 65 years old with noses against the wall.

    Bring the group back together in a circle. Ask all participants to remove the dots from their head and to shake out their arms and legs taking deep breaths.

    It is important to ensure participants shake out any anger built up in the game and have the opportunity to discuss how the game made them feel.

    Discussion Questions How did each participant feel at each stage of the game?

    Does this game reflect how people of different ages are treated in

    your community? How are young people treated? How are old people


    What other groups in your community experience exclusion?

    Where do you think exclusion and oppression like this happens around the world?

  • Goal Participants will discover the various things they have in common with others, regardless of background, race, or culture.

    Time: 20–30 minutes.

    Materials: Enough pipe cleaners so that each participant has four. Long pipe cleaners are best, although the shorter variety may be used. Provide a variety of colors.

    Procedure: Place the pipe cleaners on a central table and ask each person to select four pipe cleaners in the colors of their choice.

    Step 1. Tell participants that their task is to shape the pipe cleaners to represent something that is very important in their life or something that is an important goal in their life. Allow about five to seven minutes. The trainer should circulate around the room to observe the creations that participants make.

    Step 2. Working with the person next to them, ask participants to try to guess what each other’s creations represent.

    Step 3. As a total group, ask participants to stand if their creation represents the concept that you name. For example, say, “If your creation represents something to do with religion, please stand.”

    Note the number of people who are standing. Once they are seated, call on those to stand whose creation represents another concept. Concepts may include religion, family, friends, money, education,health, or others that you notice.

    When most people have had a chance to identify with one of the groups standing, ask those who have not yet stood to raise their hands. Ask one of the people with a raised hand to share what his or her creation represents. Then ask if anyone else made a creation that represents another member of the group.

  • Common Ground Props: Enough chairs for all participants, minus one.

    Purpose: Icebreaker

    Human Knot Props: None

    Purpose: Team building, bending the personal space bubble, Communication

    Procedure: Get the group in a tight circle. Have the members of the group reach in with their tight hands and grasp one of the right hands available. Repeat with left hands. Then ask them to unravel the knot. People may not let go. The circle of hands is to remain unbroken. However, it may be necessary to change grips due to the angle of arms and bodies. One variation is for the group to stay silent during the entire activity. You can easily use this activity as a metaphor for community activism that illustrates an opportunity for broad perspectives to work together towards a common goal.

    Procedure: Group sits in a circle of chairs with one person standing in the middle (no empty chairs). The person in the middle says “I seek common ground with… people who were born east of the Paris!” Anyone who was, including the person asking the question, must get up and run across the circle to find a new seat. You can’t take the seat of the person next to you! There will be one person left in the middle who must ask the next question. Possibilities include: people who… wear glasses! Likes vanilla ice cream better than chocolate!

    You can also guide the questions a little deeper… “I seek common ground with people who have… worked with the homeless.” The facilitator may choose to ask the first few questions to get the game going and set the tone.

  • Spider’s Web Props: A ball of string Purpose: Reflection, closing activity

    Procedure: Participants form a circle, with the facilitator in the circle holding a ball of string. Start by tossing the ball to a participant, holding onto the end of the string as you throw it. State something you appreciate about that person participating in your shared work. The appreciation can be about something that recently happened or about the other person in general. The ball then travels across the circle to each player with everyone holding onto a piece of the string once the ball is tossed. Once everyone is holding onto the string and it is crisscrosses throughout the circle the facilitator, uses scissors to cut through the string, saying “As we cut the ties to the games we’ve played (or activity we’ve finished), we leave each person a piece of string in their hand to remind them of the renewed community and new connections they have made.”

    Touch The Can Props: A tin can

    Purpose: Teamwork, communication, planning and touching

    Procedure: Get the group around the can. Tell the group they all must be touching the can at once, with their… (finger, toe, knee, elbow, shoulder…

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